Maryland passed a new foreclosure mediation law during the 2010 legislative session. If you have a foreclosure action on your primary residence that was filed against you after July 1, 2010, you may be eligible for foreclosure mediation. Foreclosure mediation is a meeting at which a homeowner and mortgage lender negotiate potential modifications or other alternative before an impartial judge in an attempt to reach an agreement.
Civil Justice has launched a new Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program for eligible borrowers. This program is the only "reduced fee" or "low bono" legal service supported by the State of Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. For a flat fee of $500 homeowners will retain the services of an attorney to represent their interests at the foreclosure mediation.
If you are interested in mediation, and want to find out if you qualify, please contact Civil Justice at 410-706-5649, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information regarding the foreclosure process in Maryland, as well as foreclosure mediation, please visit www.mdhope.org.
As of May 2011, Civil Justice has achieved the following results for its foreclosure mediation clients:
In October, 2010, Civil Justice was contacted by a homeowner looking for assistance with her foreclosure. She had not previously worked with a housing counselor, but wanted to try to work out a modification for her mortgage. The homeowner did not qualify for pro bono representation, but was interested in obtain assistance through CJ’s Low Bono Mediation Project. She met with CJ attorney Ronald Jackson prior to her mediation to discuss her situation and to determine what she wanted to accomplish. The homeowner was able to pay her current mortgage payment but could not get caught up on some of the past due amounts that accumulated after she lost her overtime income. The mediation occurred in November, 2010, and the homeowner and Mr. Jackson met with the mediator and representatives of her mortgage company. Mr. Jackson negotiated a three month forbearance plan where the homeowner will make her existing monthly PITI payment for three months. If all three payments are made on time, the foreclosure action will be stayed, and the mortgage company will send her a permanent modification agreement where her arrears will be added to the loan principal and the interest rate will be fixed for 30 years at the prevailing market rate. After the final modification has been executed, the foreclosure action will be dismissed.
I cannot get my servicer to answer my modification requests. Will mediation help?
Yes. Mediation will offer you an opportunity to talk face-to-face with your servicer and get a final answer to your request.
How long does the mediation process take?
If requested in time, the mediation process will occur and delay your foreclosure sale for about sixty days.
Why should you hire an attorney to represent you?
Foreclosure is a legal process and the banks will have their lawyers at the mediation; to help your advocate for your rights, you will benefit from a lawyer on your side.
Is every homeowner entitled to a loan modification?
No. Not every homeowner will be able to obtain a loan modification.
What other alternatives to foreclosure can I achieve at mediation?
Borrowers may also be able to negotiate a forbearance, reinstatement, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or other opportunities for a homeowner to relinquish the property before a foreclosure occurs.
What if mediation does not settle the dispute?
You must present your legal defenses or claims to the circuit court to dispute the foreclosure within 15 days following the conclusion of the mediation. Civil Justice can assist you with a referral for these cases.